How to Negotiate With 3rd Parties to Navigate a Crisis?

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Edward Hansen

What should you know about negotiating with third-parties in the age of remote work, zoom conferences, and severely impacted businesses? That's the question I put to Ed Hansen and Val Gross, technology and outsourcing attorneys that specialize in using technology as a conduit for business change.

"Everyone is going to be transforming when we come out of this," says Ed. "Anyone who’s gone through transformation knows it’s challenging at the best of times. Essentially, what was a best practice coming into this is going to be an essential practice as we come out of it."

Ed foresees a Y2K type spike in demand for third party help over the next 6 months.

“The problem is, everyone’s going to be looking for these resources at the same time,” he warns. "But this time the focus won’t just be on technology, change – the focus will be on business transformation."

"At the same time it's a perfect storm because everything is disrupted right now. So the resistance that transformation initiatives faced in the past will be greatly diminished. And THAT presents an opportunity."

The sourcing decisions that companies will have to make to navigate this environment will not be linear, though – this is matrix-based decision making, and involves significant uncertainty. So, figuring out how to leverage third-parties to help get through this will be complex. It involves planning for uncontracted for circumstances; and requirements fluid agreements (you'll find out what this means!).

Another thing to bear in mind: The 'cost of a deal' should be considered from inception through to the end of transformation. And what you do at the beginnning profoundly impacts that timeline. (Just consider failed RPA implementations.)

In this interview, we covered trust issues, nonverbal cues, how to keep the A-team, the pros and cons of fighting tooth and nail for the 'best' terms, leverage, Request for Proposal versus Request for Solutions, vendors versus partners, the challenges presented by zoom meetings, how to substitute for coffee breaks in hour-long face-to-face negotiations, and much much (MUCH) more.

The real message, or warning, as Val puts it, is: "Will you be ready?!?"

Given that we had this discussion over zoom, it featured a drum set, a talking parrot, and an orange. I hope you'll gain as much out of it as I did.

#changemanagement #negotiation #OCM #governance


Val Gross
Of Counsel, Digital Transformation, Managed Services & Outsourcing Group
Nelson Mullins